Segment 1

Segment 2

Segment 3

Segment 4

Segment 5

Segment 6

Segment 7

Segment 8

Segment 9

Segment 10

Segment 11

Segment 12

Segment 13

Segment 14

Segment 15

Segment 16

Segment 17

Segment 18

Segment 19

Segment 20

Segment 21

Downing a Me 210

Target of Opportunity

Annotation

Freddie Ohr was born in Portland, Oregon in 1919. When he was four years old they moved to Idaho where Ohr grew up. Ohr went to school in the Boise valley. His parents were from Korea so they paid close attention to what was going on in that part of the world. Japan annexed Korea during the war. Ohr's grandfather and father escaped to China during this period. His parents were from the ruling class so they were quite wealthy. He made five trips from China into Korea to make a deal with the puppet government. Once the puppet government was no longer needed they never heard from them again. Ohr's grandfather used all of his influence to get his family out of Korea. They landed in San Francisco. As soon as they got off of the boat all of the Orientals on the boat were taken off and quarantined. Ohr’s uncle was 13 at the time and the only one who could speak English. He got them through immigration. Ohr is not sure what year they landed in San Francisco. It was probably the very early part of 1900. Ohr’s father ended up in a salmon cannery in Alaska. Orientals were exploited and given passage so that they could come work for little money since slavery was outlawed. Ohr’s father was in Alaska for a little while and started working in a lumber mill. The lumber mill he worked at got lumber downstream by floating them down a river. Ohr’s father specialized in riding the logs down to wherever a logjam occurred. His uncle went into a coal mine. He died of black lung. Ohr’s family then moved to Idaho and started farming. They had nothing and were very poor. Their house was a tent for a year. There was a dirt floor, a small kitchen and a stove. Ohr did not mind it that much because he was a kid. His mother was a seamstress so all of the family’s clothes were fashioned in the house. As time went on things got a little better. Finally they moved into a house that had a floor in it. They stayed there awhile and things kept getting better. Ohr’s father decided that he wanted some land for a farm. Ohr was in high school when they decided to build the farm. Ohr believes that if his family were not farmers when the Depression hit they would not be alive. His father used to build underground cellars. In the fall they had all types of things that had just finished growing. They would put the vegetables into this cellar so they had food all winter. They raised their own potatoes. Rice would have been an optimal food to have in the winter.

Annotation

Freddie Ohr and his family moved to a place where they could not find any meat. They had a bunch of cats and his mother suggested watching the cats to see if they were dragging in any food. It was so cold that the local quails would freeze. The cats would go out hunting and drag in frozen quail. She made sure to feed the cats because they needed to eat in order to hunt. Living was not too bad for Ohr. As he got older his father somehow bought a 1930 Model A Ford. Ohr learned how to drive at nine years old. His father used to let him take the car around driving. Ohr used to go exploring. Back in those days not too many people had seen the land Ohr was exploring. Ohr got his first shotgun when he was nine years old. By the time he was 14 he was a pretty good shot. Ohr went deer and bear hunting. He grew up in the mountains and he thinks that was helpful to him when he got in the service. It taught him how to deal with adverse circumstances. His boyhood days were rough but he did not feel the Depression that much because he did not need a lot of money. When Ohr was camping he used to find old pine trees that had a massive bed of old needles. He used that as a bed. When he got older he joined the 116th Cavalry of the Idaho National Guard. Ohr spent three years with them during the summer. He joined the National Guard because he did not want to be drafted into the army, given a rifle and dumped into a trench. He figured that if he enlisted he would be in an advantageous position to avoid the infantry. Ohr kept thinking that he had to do something where he could showcase his skills. He was only about 110 pounds so slogging it out with the infantry would have exacted a heavy toll. Ohr felt that if he could get two years of college in before they took him he would be alright. Ohr saw an airplane when he was very small and it excited him. He knew that he was going to fly in the United States Air Corps. Since Ohr was of Asian descent there was in his mind a snowballs chance in hell of him getting accepted into the Army Air Corps. Ohr’s mom used to say that if the desire is great enough then someday it will happen. Ohr figured that if he got into the National Guard and knocked out two years of college he would be in good shape. In the fall of 1938 Ohr started his freshman year of college. During the summer he had summer camp with the National Guard. Ohr was getting ready for his junior year of college when he was inducted into federal service. They had gotten rid of their horses by this time and Ohr was now in a sergeant in a field artillery unit [Annotators Note: the 183rd Field Artillery Battalion]. They spent the winter of 1940 in Wyoming at Fort Francis C. Warren. That winter, Ohr realized being on the ground was not for him. It was so cold in certain places that the trees would not even grow. Ohr was a communications sergeant. He outranked the radio operator in his unit. One day he noticed that the aviation cadet board is coming to Fort Warren for physicals. His radio operator, Leon, was accepted. Ohr was happy for him.

Annotation

Freddie Ohr’s friend Leon asked him to go with him into the Air Corps. Ohr walked into a storefront that had been turned into a recruiting area. He saw Ohr walk in and he pointed at where he wanted to go. The man was telling Ohr to leave. A big ad was in the newspaper his senior year telling people to join the navy and learn how to become a machinist. The navy guy was really good with Ohr or so it seemed. After talking with the navy recruiter, Ohr could tell that the man was just playing with him in a rude way. Finally he came to his punch line and Ohr realized that he was messing with him. The navy officer told Ohr that he would ask the Admiral of the entire Pacific fleet when he came back if he needed a new cabin boy. Ohr was kind of a punk in high school in his own words. Ohr let him have it. The navy officer got up from behind the desk and walked over to Ohr with his fist balled up. A few civilians had taken note that Ohr, an oriental man, had walked into the recruiting station. Fortunately for Ohr there were enough potential witnesses standing around that it dissuaded the recruiting officer. Ohr gave him a few more words then ran out. Ohr ran down main street about three or four blocks but the man did not follow. When Leon asked Ohr to go with him all of these things came to his mind. He told Leon that it would be in his best interest if Ohr did not come with him but he did. They went to see the CO [Annotators Note: commanding officer] and got the week off to get ready to go to the Air Corps recruiter. At the end of the week Leon and Ohr decided that the best thing to do was get there early and be the first people examined. The exam board was set up and ready to go when they got there. Leon gave him his papers and they started examining him. Ohr sat down and started reading and finally he heard someone asking for a sergeant. Ohr put the newspaper down and there was a pair of boots standing there. Ohr knew it had to be a colonel. Ohr leapt up and tried to snap to attention quickly but he knocked the chair over. It was a full bird colonel. He had a cavalry outfit on with a saber and the whole nine yards. The colonel knew that he had scared the hell out of Ohr and he was laughing a little bit about it. The colonel told a captain to make out an aviation cadet training application for the sergeant. The captain looked at Ohr and was suspicious about letting him in. The colonel shook his head and gave an approving nod to the captain. After he signed the papers he was given an auditory and visual test. Ohr was sent into a dark room for his visual test. It was a night blindness test.

Annotation

Freddie Ohr was given a depth perception test. The depth perception test was kind of tricky. It entailed having Ohr identify two pegs from a distance of about 20 feet. The pegs were different length so it tested a candidates depth perception. The officer who administered the test attempted to trick Ohr from the beginning by telling him that the two pegs were of equal length. If they were truly of equal length it would be impossible to determine different depths. Ohr took the test and it only took him about half a second to figure out the depth. The officer could not believe that Ohr was clever enough to figure out he was being tricked. When Ohr got to the eye exam his buddy Leon was there. Leon looked sad and he said that he was 21 years old and it was the first time he realized he was color blind. They gave Leon one more shot at the test. Ohr passed the test. When he was leaving the colonel stopped him and told him to get his personal life in order because in September he was going to be entering flight school. Ohr was laying down in his bunk when Leon came back. He was upset because he had to sign out of his unit to take the exam. Leon ended up getting separated from everyone because he was now without a unit. Ohr went through flying school and everything happened perfectly. Somebody sponsored Ohr later on down the road and Ohr is pretty sure it was the colonel that signed him up. He found out later too that the colonel was in charge of signing up recruits for the Air Corps. Ohr was 21 by this point and he did not have a cavity in his mouth. His balance and vision were perfect. Ohr got his first kick in the head when he graduated. They left a week at the end so people could make up for flight time lost to weather. Ohr went through his entire training regimen on time. Ohr went down to the flight line where there were a bunch of old planes. An operations officer came by and asked Ohr what he was doing. The operations officer asked if Ohr wanted to fly one of the planes. Ohr picked out a T-6 made by North American. The officer told him he could take off at 1030. He sent his jeep over to Ohr’s training center to grab his equipment. Ohr got into the plane. The officer pointed out a few things. Ohr was told that when he took off he had to take off gradually. Ohr pushed it a little bit too hard but he was able to get off of the ground. He flew around for about an hour and a half then checked out of that plane. He returned at 1:30 to fly again.

Annotation

Freddie Ohr flew in a P-64 and a P-35. He cannot find the P-64 in modern books about fighters. Both were forerunners to later model fighters. Ohr had just graduated when the A-26 had just come out. They were picking pilots for the A-26. They got to Ohr’s name and they stopped. They told him he was to report to an aircraft depot at Daniels Field in Augusta, Georgia. From that point on Ohr was assigned to maintain aircraft. He thought that it might not be a bad thing to have the maintenance experience under his belt because it might prove advantageous for when he had to get a civilian job. Ohr felt that if he ever became a squadron commander he would treat people below him with respect. Since they were officers they had to buy their own uniforms. Ohr had about 50 dollars saved up and bought his uniform on the last day before he had to go. It cost him 50 dollars more than he expected and he had no idea how he was going to live for a week. Ohr figured that it was going to be rough living off of so little money. He ate a minimal amount of food for about two weeks. He got so hungry that for the last two days he was not hungry anymore. His body was feeding on itself. Ohr got a little concerned and realized he could not keep that going. He went down to the finance office in the second week of June and got his pay. It took about a week of normal nutrition before he could eat like normal. Ohr was eventually confronted by his commanding officer who inquired as to where Ohr had been. Ohr had too much pride to tell the man that he was starving as a result of having no money. Ohr told the man he was ready to report. The officer was a very nice guy. Ohr was the understudy to an engineering officer who was a young kid. Ohr was 22 or 23 at that time but the first lieutenant was younger. The lieutenant let him stand there for two and a half hours at attention while he lectured Ohr on all of the things that he could not do. Ohr was told that he could not test fly any of the airplanes that they repaired. He told Ohr that Ohr was not going to be flying. It was hard for Ohr to get his four hours of flight time in so he could become qualified. One of Ohr’s master sergeants took Ohr over to a ramp and showed him Ohr’s airplane. The master sergeant got Ohr his own plane. No one else wanted to fly this airplane. It was an old 52 Owl [Annotators Note: Curtiss O-52 Owl heavy observation aircraft]. It is a high wing pot bellied underpowered plane. All of the hydraulics were manual. They finally got it into flying shape. No one ever touched Ohr’s plane. Ohr kept it up front so everyone could see it.

Annotation

Freddie Ohr had an aerial photographer in his group who had just come out of the photography school in Denver. He asked Ohr to take him up for a flight. The officer had a project where he needed to take panoramic shots of an area where the infantry was scheduled to go on maneuvers. He hopped into Ohr’s plane with a lot of camera equipment. Ohr flew him wherever he wanted to go. Ohr leaned the airplane over where he was supposed to film. It caught the cameraman off guard and he nearly fell out of the plane. The cameraman screamed to get the plane upright. He then asked Ohr if he had ever taken a photographer up before. Ohr replied no and was immediately versed on the correct way to bank the aircraft so that the photographer could get the shots he needed. If he was not strapped in Ohr would have thrown him out of the airplane. Ohr found the situation to be quite humorous and ended up taking him up again. They ended up becoming good friends. He let Ohr take some personal pictures with his camera equipment. Ohr saw a chart one time produced by the first lieutenant that made him stand at attention for two hours [Annotators Note: see Freddie Ohr Segment 5] that showed every possible medal that the military could award. The lieutenant pointed at one of the medals and said he was going to get one of those. Oddly enough it was the Distinguished Flying Cross. Ohr tried to avoid the man because every time he saw Ohr he would tell him that he was going to win the DFC. Ohr thought this was ridiculous because clearly the man had nothing better to do than fantasize about winning medals. The lieutenant did not tell Ohr one useful thing the entire time he was there. One Friday afternoon Ohr was trying to finish a job. The lieutenant called him in and did the same thing. He told Ohr again that he wanted to get the DFC. Ohr told him that he thought medals were earned and not won. He jumped straight up and told Ohr he was going to figure it out. Ohr told him I bet you will. Ohr's best bet was to hang out with the enlisted men. Ohr became the go to officer for the younger enlisted guys. Some of the guys were good guys that just made innocent mistakes. Ohr knew that when they got overseas it would be different but when he got overseas it was the same old stuff.

Annotation

Freddie Ohr was assigned to the 52nd Fighter Group overseas. They were flying Spitfires. Ohr learned how to fly the Mark V Spitfire which earned its place in history as the primary defense aircraft during the Battle of Britain. Ohr finally got his commanding officer to check him out in a Spitfire. He was supposed to be Ohr’s boss but Ohr noticed that he was never around. Ohr got to the point where he was hanging out with enlisted men exclusively. Sometimes he would help the enlisted guys gas up airplanes. The Air Corps operated much like the British in that the field was mostly empty of work and people at four in the afternoon. At six in the evening the doors to the mess hall were unlocked. If you missed getting there at six you would miss dinner. Everybody always made sure to eat at the same pace. The airplanes came in late one day and they needed fuel for an early mission. Ohr pitched in and helped. There was no place to buy food. Ohr walked into the club smelling like gasoline and a young colonel backed him into a wall and starting giving him guff for his appearance. All Ohr could do was say yes sir or no sir. He told Ohr that he had 15 minutes to get into his Class A dress uniform and get back for dinner. Ohr found this to be nearly impossible because his billet was two miles from the base. Ohr met his colonel coming in and his colonel let him take his Jeep. Ohr came back in his dress uniform and saluted the colonel who had ordered him to get dressed. The colonel flashed him a little wink and it turned out that they were going to become good friends. Ohr was sent overseas for the invasion of Africa. He was on his way to England but his ship got into some trouble with submarines so hs group had to sleep on the pier while they waited for it. The first night everybody took their shoes off and when they woke up they were all gone. Ohr was the only one with shoes. Everybody from that point on slept with their shoes on. The ship finally came in after a week. No one had showered. It was a cruise ship that had originally ferried people from the west coast to Hawaii. Everyone thought that since it was a cruise ship they would get a shower. They were rudely greeted with a sign when they went up the gangplank that said water available only at certain times and places. Most of the water was rationed to flush out the latrines. Ohr’s unit on the ship was the only complete unit. Their commanding officer got to be the mess officer on the ship. He asked Ohr if he could assist him. First they had to stop in Philadelphia before they went overseas. Ohr's commanding officer gave him a .45 [Annotators Note: M1911 .45 caliber pistol] and told him to guard the jeep. They got back on the ship but could not move right away because a pack of German u-boats was hunting in the area. Finally they slipped out. The second night Ohr got adventurous and decided to walk around the ship. He walked into a room and there were some guys sitting around eating. A man told Ohr to come in. Ohr was asked if he was Korean. He said yes. The man asked Ohr when was the last time he had a bowl of rice. Ohr responded two years ago. They were all sitting on boxes but had a nice table cloth over the table. They had more food than Ohr had seen in years. The dinner was about seven courses. It smelled liked Ohr’s mother’s kitchen table. Ohr ate like a pig and they sat around and talked. Ohr was invited back for the next night. The next night Ohr walked down and the man showed him a huge tank. Ohr stuck his hand in it and it was nice warm water. Ohr finally had a place to shower. His clothes were incredibly dirty. It was a laundry machine that you could essentially swim in. The water was great. It had been three weeks since Ohr last showered. He stayed in there for about an hour. When he got out he was weak because he was so relaxed. The man gave Ohr two big towels. Ohr looked in the other chair and his clothes had been washed. His underwear and socks had been pressed. Ohr did not know how to thank the man.

Annotation

Freddie Ohr was treated to another huge dinner. The Korean man told him to come down every night around seven. Ohr gained five or six pounds during the crossing. The troop ship had 5,000 infantry replacements aboard. They were let off of the ship at Glasgow. Ohr landed in Scotland and took a train down to England where he was supposed to wait for the 52nd Fighter Group. Ohr got to Glasgow in 1942. That was the staging area. They went to Oran, North Africa and it was snowing. The quartermaster in England told them that it was going to be sunny and hot. Ohr had hidden one of his winter coats in his barracks bag. He could not get his coat out when they landed because it was in the hold. Ohr landed with minimal clothing. It was raining. Once they landed they were six or seven miles from the airfield they needed to be at. When Ohr got to the field it was dark and rainy and everything was leveled. He got into a boxcar to escape the rain. For some reason they were on British rations. They were given one ration for each individual and it was mutton stew. They had no can openers. Guys were striking matches in the dark boxcar. The guys finally got some of their mutton stew cans open and were so repulsed by the smell that they opened the box car and threw the food outside. They went hungry for about 36 hours. Once they got to the airfield they got clean clothes and coffee. They stayed there until Christmas when they were assigned to catch up with what was going on at Kasserine Pass. The officers were told to sleep in a cave. They dug their own caves out and made a good solid dug out. On 16 or 17 February Ohr thought he felt the ground moving. It was just about daybreak. He woke his cave mate up and told him something was going on. They looked out and could barely seen down the road. There were Moroccan troops walking down towards the pass. They realized after a second that they were heading the wrong way. These were troops retreating from the battle of Kasserine Pass. Their airfield was on the west end of the Pass. When daybreak came Ohr was informed that there were two P-40s that needed to get out of there. Shells were bursting on the airfield at that point. The crew chief got them ready to go. Ohr was told to fly west. Ohr figured the best thing he could do was follow a road west. He was following a truck on the ground for a short while and then he heard an explosion. He cut the throttle and turned it around. Ohr was nursing the plane back to the field. He came in a little hot on purpose. Ohr came to a stop and jumped out of the plane. He coasted into the gasoline dispersal area. Ohr shot his plane attempting to render it useless. He was able to light the plane on fire with his zippo lighter. He knew he had to burn the airplanes. Ohr was attempting to burn the planes when a truck came up with a few guys and they jumped out and tried to burn the planes. Then Ohr was picked up. The master sergeant jumped out and screamed at Ohr to get in.

Annotation

Freddie Ohr sat down and everybody sat around him to keep him warm. Ohr got up and looked around and realized there was a light in the darkness. It was the last ditch stand of the infantry and Ohr was granted passage. Ohr caught up with the rest of the outfit [Annotators Note: the 52nd Fighter Group] at daybreak. Ohr passed the commanding officer and he was clearly deep in thought. Most likely upset that most of his guys had been left behind. All of a sudden he rolled around and asked Freddie what the hell he was doing there. There was a rumor going around that Freddie and one of his squad mates had been jumped by two Me 109s and that Freddie was killed. Ohr was clearly not dead and it surprised his commanding officer that someone would lie about seeing Ohr get shot down and killed. Ohr saw the major the next day and said he needed to talk to him. Ohr felt like it was time to go. He felt like his commanding officer was going to get him killed. He could not believe that this officer, who was the same man who wanted to go out and win medals, would falsely report something that never happened in order to get the Distinguished Flying Cross [Annotators Note: see Freddie Ohr Segment 6]. Ohr felt bad about the whole thing. Looking back now he thinks the major had the officer removed. The major found a spot for him. There was a training center in Africa for replacement pilots. Ohr was picked up by a driver to be taken to his new post. He got to his post in early afternoon. On the bulletin board was the 52nd Fighter Group. Ohr went to the commandant and asked if it would be alright to get some transportation to go see his friends in the 52nd. The major gave Ohr the use of his jeep to do so. The jeep driver was happy. Ohr warned the sergeant as the day progressed that it would be a good idea to get to the 52nd by dark. Ohr walked into the 52nd's camp and they had boxes and stuff all over. One of the men jumped up and asked Freddie where the hell he had been. The group commander heard the commotion and came out. He was glad to see Ohr. They talked for awhile and Ohr knew he had to get going. The colonel asked Ohr what he could do for him. Ohr requested to join the outfit. Ohr was told to meet the colonel in the morning so that the orders could be cut to release him from the training outfit and induct him into the 52nd. Ohr was assigned to the 2nd Fighter Squadron and was immediately assigned to receive tutelage from an element leader. The element leader's name was Sandborne. He approached Ohr and said thathe was told to make a fighter pilot out of him. Ohr was told that he had to develop a fighter pilot's mentality. That was lesson one.

Annotation

Freddie Ohr was sitting around in a tent for two and a half days. Sandborne informed him that there would not be a test. Sandborne told Ohr that they would know if he passed if Ohr came back from his first mission. Ohr was taken up as Sandborne's wingman. He was happy that he was going to receive his training from him. In a few days Ohr went on his first mission. It was a fighter sweep. They did not have to fly protection, rather they had to clear the area. It was peaceful, quiet and serene. Ohr heard Sandy’s voice call out and say Yellow Two break right. Ohr broke right and kicked the right rudder. It was a 190 [Annotators Note: Focke Wulf Fw 190 fighter aircraft]. Ohr startled the hell out of him and he was frozen on the trigger. Ohr was on a collision course. Ohr figured that his element of surprise was his life saver. The German strategy was to get above the Americans in order to get them. Ohr learned a lot from his first mission. About two weeks later Ohr went up with his flight leader. They ran across a dozen Ju 88s lined up in a string formation. Ohr was flying number two on his leader. His commander got on the air and called them out. He said let’s not get greedy let’s take them all down. Ohr peeled off with him and they got into a fray. Ohr had trouble following his target. The whole time they were heading towards the ground. His flight leader jumped in and was able to get ahead. Ohr spotted two more Ju 88s headed low and got one of them. He flew back up and was trying to find the rest of his guys but did not see a single plane. Ohr figured at this point he should get home. They had only been out for 30 minutes. The guys on the ground thought he was coming back early but when they saw his gun covers removed they realized that he had seen action. They only got seven of the Ju 88s. Ohr found out about a mix up when he was on the ground that explained why only seven were shot down. It was the first time Ohr fired the machine guns on his Spitfire. He was happy and he went back to his tent to rest a minute. His leader came in the tent and he was as mad as hell. Ohr figured he had messed up. He asked Ohr if he fired his guns. Ohr said yes. The commander had been shot. A round had passed through the earphone attached on the flight helmet. The bullet bounced off his skull. He laid the helmet down next to Ohr so that he could inspect the damage then walked out of the tent. [Annotators Note: Ohr was accused by his flight leader, Old Mac, of shooting him by accident.] The crew chief later found the bullet and showed it to Ohr.

Annotation

Freddie Ohr found out it was that bullet that ricocheted off his helmet and went into the cushion. His leader made a statement that he was sure the bullet came from a Spitfire. Ohr was the only one behind him so he was concerned. Ohr found an article that the flight leader wrote a few years after the war. Ohr ended up flying with him for the rest of the war and he was a great guy. It was not Ohr’s bullet. They had a .303 round and the German round was nine millimeter. The bullet was almost intact. Ohr did not get too down about it. Max was one of the best pilots that they had. When they finished the African Campaign they were sent to a place south of Tunisia. The Fourth of July [Annotators Note: 4 July 1943] was rolling around. The Italians had left a bunch of ordinance when they surrendered so some of the guys got together and popped the shell casings open to get to the gunpowder. They filled up ammunition boxes with this gunpowder with the intention of lighting them off on the Fourth. There were six or eight guys in a tent dumping the powder out of the shells. They had four or five ammunition boxes full of gunpowder. It was hot and Ohr saw a trail of smoke coming. Ohr yelled fire and he jumped out of the tent. The whole tent went up. Somebody put a trail of powder outside of the tent to light it off. When it all quieted down the trees looked like they had been scorched. Ohr’s tent had holes blown in the top of it. He could see the stars while laying in his cot. On 6 July Patton took Palermo. After Patton took Messina Ohr’s group ended up based in Corsica. They used three year old Spitfires. At one time the Spitfire was the premier airplane. When Ohr got the plane there was only one advantage afforded to him compared to the German planes. The Spitfire had a tighter turning radius. In the spring the Germans introduced a fuel injection system which allowed them to fly upside down. The Germans were on top of the airplane game until the Americans got the P-51. In Corsica however Ohr flew the Spitfire. During the winter they could not get supplies down through Italy. Instead, they would send the supplies down the coast. It got to a point where two guys could take off in a 100 foot ceiling. Ohr could not figure out how he was going to fly over the ocean with the huge waves. Pretty soon Ohr saw a boat coming down in a wave. The next big wave that came in Ohr got down low to the ocean. Ohr throttled back and flew down the trough of the wave. The boat opened up to him and he opened up with his 20 millimeter guns.

Annotation

Freddie Ohr came running out of the wave and he did not see the boat anymore. He made two or three passes that low. Another time he was out strafing and he got a little careless. He tried to follow a boat through the trough of a wave and his propeller hit the crest of a wave. He was able to pull it out. When he got turned around he looked at the propeller and there were a couple inches missing off of the blade. Ohr never pushed it that close again. They dive bombed and skip bombed with the Spitfire. They got their P-51s in March 1944. They moved out of Corsica and went to England. The squadron commander told Ohr in Corsica that his plane was coming from Africa. Ohr was told to stay at a vacant end of the base. People were unusually unfriendly. It got spooky for Ohr waiting there by himself for the plane. While waiting he heard someone coming. He pulled out his gun but they were only chipmunks. Ohr saw an overweight rat as well. He realized he did not have the provisions to spend the night. Finally a jeep came and his airplane was waiting. The pilots were taken to Africa but for some reason no one said anything to Ohr. He felt like there was a disconnect. Ohr felt that if he ever became a squadron commander he would not see any of that happen. Ohr never got to go to Africa to get checked out. He got to his airplane and asked what some of the gauges were. The instruments were similar to an earlier training model Ohr flew. He told Ohr to take off at a steady speed. The P-51 had a lot of power. He practiced stalling it out at about five to seven thousand feet and practiced a couple of simulated landings as well. Ohr flew it around for an extra half hour because of how incredible it was. Ohr was flying in a war zone with no ammunition. He decided to go in and land. Some of the guys were waiting for him to land in his new P-51. Ohr landed perfectly and everything went fine. A good introduction into the 15th Air Force. One of the guys in the first bunch had not gone around Italy. Instead they flew over enemy territory and they had to take it in. He was going to bail out but his chute got hooked in his tail. When that happened that is the end. As soon as the airplane hit the ground it exploded. It was the end. He did not suffer any.

Annotation

Freddie Ohr went from Corsica Italy to Medina, Italy. They flew out of there on a short steel runway. They flew all of their long missions from there. They flew to Ploesti and Czechoslovakia and other places. They flew to Nuremberg as well. They flew shuttle missions to Ploesti and then to Kiev. They then flew escort for a recon outfit that had to photograph Italy. Ohr had four kills at this point. [Annotators Note: Ohr checks his notes briefly]. Ohr got five kills in Italy. The Me 210 was his third kill in Italy. Ohr became the 13th ace in the squadron. Some of the guys had forgotten he had a kill in Africa. It made no difference to Ohr. They ran across the Me 210 when Ohr was the flight leader. Ohr got onto him first. Ohr hit him and he started to burn. He was flying straight and level. Ohr felt like he had it on automatic pilot. Ohr got ready to fire and the pilot came out and his parachute went over on the right side of the tail and his body went under the tail. He was hooked. Ohr decided not to shoot at him because he was already gone. Ohr estimated that he froze to death before he hit the ground. One of the famous German pilots that had 168 kills shot 18 down in one day. He was coming home and had engine trouble and he tried to flip his plane upside down to eject but his chute did not have time to open. Regardless how good you get there may be a time when there is nothing you can do to survive. Ohr notes that when this German died he was heading to combat Ohr's group. They were based in Medina and they flew several missions. They flew a lot of strafing missions. One mission they flew was to escort the B-17s that landed in Bucharest to pick up prisoners of war. They were taking 36 stripped down B-17s so they could load up the prisoners. All of the other fighter groups were protecting the B-17s. Ohr’s group was to go north of the landing strip to provide a wedge between a German airfield and the airfield the B-17s were landing at. Their job was to strafe the airfield. There were 48 guys with Ohr’s group in three flights of 16. Ohr wanted the bottom flight because he wanted to be the first one in. He had seen this airfield before and he salivated at the opportunity to strafe it. The terrain was flat leading up to the airfield. The only way to get in out of sight was to come in low. Ohr saw the airfield but he could see that some of the guys were flying too far to the west. They swarmed in and strafed the airfield. They really raked it over.

Annotation

Freddie Ohr made a dozen passes over the airfield. They went up to provide cover when the top flight went down. Finally Ohr called them off and told them to save their ammunition because they may have to fight their way out of it. Ohr realized the other flights did find the airfield. They saw black smoke coming up from that airfield. Ohr started back and saw a P-51 in trouble. Instead of calling the squadron to inform them he was going down Ohr flipped over to help the P-51 because there were two German fighters following it. Ohr was by himself but was worried about the pilot. Fortunately the crippled P-51 was able to fire its weapons to help ward off the Germans. They finally made the coast and Ohr was alone with the crippled P-51. They looked at the airplane when they landed it was full of holes. Ohr thought it was a good day because they saved an airplane and a pilot. They did not see a bomber the entire time but during that time they were successfully picking up the prisoners in Bucharest. They had two B-17s fitted as ambulances to evacuate the wounded. The Russians were close but they got away with it. Ohr might have been wrong but he helped find an airfield. What saved them was that the crippled P-51 was able to fire its weapons. They took off in the winter time and it was bad weather. They had to take off because the bombers were coming off of the target. He asked the group commander if he could delay but they were told to go. Pretty soon Ohr got a call and the mission was scrubbed. They were then told to attack targets of opportunity. Ohr knew of an airfield he could attack that did not have many guns defending it. Ohr kept checking the gun positions. When he got the order he knew exactly how he had to attack it. Ohr got down on the deck while the middle and top flight provided cover. They backed up to wait to see what Ohr was doing then they followed behind him. Ohr waited and realized he must have missed the airfield. He raised up five or six feet and there was some low brush and he realized he was directly opposite the airfield. They were going about 400 miles per hour on the deck. Ohr flipped up and leveled out as he headed to the shed. Ohr saw a gun position but he could not get his nose low enough. Ohr saw the guy come out before he got to the gun and Ohr had to fly over him. Ohr looked out and he could see the holes where the bullets went through his wings. There were big contrails of gas coming out of his plane. A good tracer round would have taken him out. Ohr realized he could do a belly landing without an explosion. He figured since he was there he was going to raise hell and he headed towards a long row of airplanes. Ohr checked everything, took his last breath and he held the trigger. There was big explosion. It took him a minute to gather himself. He pulled away from the exploding debris. Ohr peeled off and came back and knocked the machine gunner off of the roof.

Annotation

Freddie Ohr then called his flight up while the next two flights hit the field. They set the whole airfield on fire. Finally Ohr said we may have to fight our way out so everyone pulled off and they flew back to base. The group commander was asking Ohr where they had been. Ohr informed him he was ordered to hit targets of opportunity. The group commander had not given the order so he told Ohr he was grounded. Ohr does not think the group commander liked him but he was the boss and that was the way it was. Ohr felt bad about the guys because they followed him without asking a question. When they saw Ohr hit the target they knew that was it. The airfield was so deep in enemy territory the Germans would not expect it. The group could not fly the next day because their airplanes were so shot up. Ohr was given another good mission to smooth things over. Ohr escorted Churchill back to England. There were eight P-51s flying escort in bad weather. Churchill had a fancy Air Force 1 type plane. They would always fly straight through the clouds. Every time they went through a cloud bank Ohr had to pull up close. They got to England and could not find the airfield. Finally Ohr saw an airfield. They were all camouflaged. They were told not to land but they did anyway. They went into London and stayed there for a couple of days. Ohr remembers people approaching him with black market coupons for different items. Ohr found a pair of beautiful leather flying boots. He pulled out a coupon and they did not want to take it. It made them mad because it was unpatriotic but they needed the money. Ohr got the boots. They came over to Paris and the weather was bad so they landed there. Ohr told the guys to behave themselves. Ohr had someone he wanted to see in Belgium. He went to Belgium and found where he had to go. There was one colonel left on the base and he could not figure out what Ohr was doing there. He was probably the first oriental he saw. He kept needling Ohr. Ohr told him he was from Italy and then he showed him his orders. Ohr detoured because he had a friend to see. The colonel told him he was far from where he needed to be. The colonel’s driver took him to the border and saw his friend. Ohr wanted to get back to Paris so he hitch hiked back to the field. The transportation corps passed him by but he was picked up by a bunch of colored drivers. They took Ohr near where he needed to be. The colonel was still there. Ohr thanked him for taking care of his airplane. Ohr got to Paris and the weather was socked in. He figured that his time was up. All of a sudden he saw the Eifel Tower and he headed for the opening and he came out right over the airfield.

Annotation

Freddie Ohr realized the weather was bad. The ground crew said no one could fly. Ohr stayed a couple of nights in Paris. All of a sudden they got an air alert that there were enemy aircraft in the air. Ohr reported that he was ready to confront any obstacle. Ohr told them he would take off and if nothing was going on he was going to head home. Evidently they flew by and did not do anything. When they got back to the Mediterranean coast the weather was socked in. Ohr let the rest of the squadron land back in France. Ohr took his wingman with him. They caught up to each other and they followed closely. Ohr realized his wingman could not see the airfield. Ohr told him to follow him in. They landed at the same time. They were the only two to get back. They had been gone for ten or 12 days. Ohr has a strong feeling who gave the order to attack targets of opportunity. Ohr has been waiting for years for the pilot to own up to it. That was one of the reasons Ohr got out of the Air Corps because he did not know how badly it affected his record. That was one of the decisions Ohr had to make. He does not want to blame it all on him. He just wants him to come forward. Ohr had trained the guy. Ohr was his first pilot. He was a good pilot. He is still living. Ohr helped him get into the Pentagon. After Ohr got back from his mission to England he got back and he was done. Everyone was good to Ohr. The group commander and everyone was gracious and nice. There was no repercussion or negativity associated with his record. The guy that Ohr was suspicious about ended up getting into trouble. He had been accepted into aircraft engineering school. The guy had been a flight instructor and apparently was hot dogging it and they nailed him. He requested that Ohr go and defend him. Ohr was sent to Selma, Alabama for a court martial. He was there for three weeks. Ohr requested that he be released to go back to engineering school. His class was done so he had to wait for another class. He then got an order that requested all pilots of oriental background to report to California. Ohr found out that they wanted to send them to Chinese school because Burma was still hot. The scuttlebutt was that they wanted the guys to go over there and not come back. This was during 1945. Chinese school lasted for three months and then the war ended. The Burma thing cooled off. Ohr enrolled in school in California. He was in the army while going to class. Ohr wanted medical school but could not get in so he went to dental school.

Annotation

Freddie Ohr had a lot of things happened to him. The first guy Ohr encountered really tried to make it tough on him. There were five officers in that squadron and somehow he got a hold of a B-25. Mount Vesuvius erupted when they were there and the ash ended up ruining a bunch of B-25s. Three of the five officers were in the B-25. The officer ran into a pole clipped the wing off and killed the whole bunch. This is the guy that used to make Ohr stand at attention. The same guy who said Ohr was shot down by a Me 109. To this day Ohr feels bad about it because there was something wrong there. Ohr flew cover for raids to Ploesti. The first Ploesti mission made Ohr nervous but after awhile it got to the point where the Ploesti mission was the only one the guys wanted to fly. Fighter pilots are addicted to the adrenaline rush. Good missions got the guys excited. Their first Ploesti mission was to escort the bombers. The bombers approached from the southwest. The bombers would drop their bombs on the way back. Ohr did not see much at first. A few times they went in on a sweep mission. They had to be careful with the P-51 because they could overrun their opposition easily. Ohr always tried to stay behind them. In all of the time that Ohr flew he was never surprised by an enemy except for the first time he flew. The first time they were in the middle of Germany Ohr looked up and saw what he thought was a bunch of grapes. He looked and they were enemy airplanes. Ohr counted 250 airplanes. They were in tight formation and they were flying east. Ohr broke out in the middle of a cloud formation and estimated that there were 500 airplanes. Ohr was at about 20,000 feet when he noticed there were about 15 airplanes coming towards him. Ohr had no element of surprise and his wingman was gone. He was by his self and figured that this was going to be it. Ohr put the airplane into a skid. He figured he could skid into a right turn and cut right through the bunch. Ohr was just about in range and he skidded and flew right through them full blast. He is not sure how he got through them without hitting someone. The Germans scattered and had to be careful not to fly into each other so Ohr got away. For some reason they did not come after him. Ohr felt like if it got too hot he was going to land in Switzerland but it never came to it. Ohr saw nothing but black dots in the sky. Ohr figured that they were moving the planes to refuel so they were in no hurry to get into a fight.

Annotation

Freddie Ohr thought that it was an exciting mission [Annotators Note: See Freddie Ohr Segment 17]. He thought that could have been the end of him. Ohr ended up with six kills. When he got to be a squadron commander he realized that shooting down planes was secondary. His responsibility was trying to see if he could get all of his guys out. There were a lot of times when Ohr was alone where he was lucky to get out of it. He was coming home from a mission one time and decided to follow some of the German fighters after they made a pass through the bombers. He saw a red tail zoom past so he flipped his channel and asked the pilot where he was going. He was going the wrong way. Ohr saw a Me 109 chewing up a B-17. The Me 109 had a 20 millimeter or a 37 millimeter cannon. Ohr got the red tail to follow him and they were able to get behind the Me 109. The Me 109 tried to out climb him. Ohr flew into a cloud. He saw a shadow so he followed it. Ohr came up beneath him and he saw the sparks from his bullet impacts. In aerial combat it is very easy to become disoriented. Ohr was able to discern which way was correct by setting his compass to point to the return way. It helped him a lot of times. Ohr did not have a nickname. Marie was painted on the nose of his plane. Ohr met Marie overseas. They were in Corsica and Ohr was at the 7th General Hospital. Marie was a Korean nurse. Ohr's squadron commander, who had taught him how to fly in three days, introduced Ohr to Marie. The squadron commander came home and told people that Freddie had a girlfriend. The next thing Ohr knew the guys had painted Marie on his plane.

Annotation

Freddie Ohr learned that his uncle had flown as a top turret gunner in B-25 bombers based in Africa. Ohr did not know what squadron his uncle was in. Ohr went to the airfield and asked the operations officer if his uncle’s outfit was there. Ohr asked if he knew Parks. He told Ohr he would take him to his tent. A driver took Ohr over to the tent. Ohr announced Jackson Parks front and center. He opened the flap and saw Ohr. He froze. Finally he asked Ohr what the hell he was doing here. Ohr said he came over to see him. Ohr thought he was going to cry. He invited Ohr into the tent. Ohr brought the wine in and they drank all four bottles of it. Ohr got the four loaves of bread and kept treating the guys. They offered Ohr a drink but he declined. The guys sat around chatting. Ohr's uncle told him he needed Ohr to see somebody. He said her name is Marie. His brother had a premonition that he was not going to make it home. A year later Ohr learned that two weeks after he left his brother was killed. That was a sad day. One day when Ohr was flying near the end of the war, he flew to Sicily and flew over the cemetery where his brother was buried. He said goodbye then he went home. Ohr wrote to his uncle’s family and told them that he had in fact seen the grave. When Ohr went to Chicago in 1945 he figured he would give Marie a call. He asked if they could meet in the afternoon. Ohr was walking down the street and ran into her. They talked for a little while then they went to dinner at a local Chinese restaurant. He could see that a lot had been going on between her and his uncle. She invited Ohr back the next Sunday. This went on a couple times and then Ohr was sent to Selma, Alabama. Her graduation was coming up and Ohr realized he was probably going to miss it. Ohr was able to make the graduation.

Annotation

Freddie Ohr got back for Marie's graduation. He had to clean up a little bit when he landed then he joined them at the dance. The following week his engineering school closed so he had nothing to do. Marie was going to a continuing education class. Ohr realized that she was very poor so he suggested that they go shopping. He bought her a complete wardrobe, some luggage to store it in and gave her a few bucks. Ohr took her to the train station. He knew one of the porters and gave him 20 bucks and told him to take care of her. Ohr saw her again and asked how the train ride went. When the train pulled out the porter tried to make her move again. She refused. Ohr helped set her up and she was ready to go to school. She came back and invited Ohr to go see her. Ohr had his career set with the Air Force. He did not know how bad his reputation was with the Air Force because of that previous incident. Ohr kept in contact with Marie and he ended up marrying her. Ohr went to dental school and she became a secretary at the VA. Ohr opened up an office and practiced for 53 years until Marie got ill and passed away. Ohr retired shortly after. Her name was Ester Marie. Ohr met a Chinese guy in pilot’s school. He was the only other Oriental that Ohr had experience with. He was an engineer and a test pilot. This guy had an experience with General LeMay. He was able to prove to the general that he was able to get LeMay’s plane up and ready to fly.

Annotation

Freddie Ohr notes that another day LeMay [Annotators Note: USAAF then USAF General Curtis LeMay] landed and was looking for the Chinaman. He gave LeMay a pair of full colonel insignia. He went from a captain to a full colonel. LeMay told him from there on he was the chief of all bomber maintenance. LeMay was buried in California. Ohr would meet up with the Chinese man and they would spend a week in Las Vegas. He showed Ohr the cemetery where LeMay was. He told Ohr he was going to be buried in the same cemetery as him. Ohr is the only Korean American ace and is the only Asian ace in American history. Ohr does not promote it but he goes along with it. When Ohr met the Chinese guy, McKinney, he was a pilot on a transport. He loaded up a transport one time with rare Asian furniture and was able to outfit his home with it. Ohr has one of the liquor cabinets that he brought back. On a combat mission Ohr went out in the Ploesti area. This was another time that Ohr thought he was going to die. They were almost to the Russian border. They should not have been out that far. They were beyond Bucharest. Someone called Ohr and told him he was on fire. Ohr looked back and there was a big contrail of smoke. Ohr checked his instruments and noticed the temperature of his plane and the oil temperature were rising. The only thing he could think of was to fly higher to colder temperatures and thinner air. He looked out and there was not a plane in sight. His wingman and everyone else were gone. He was 500 miles from base. He headed toward the Matterhorn and figured he was going to head for Switzerland. He knew he had to stay cool. Ohr kept going up and finally he looked down and saw his turning point. He could either go south or go to Switzerland. Ohr thought about landing in the Alps but said the hell with it and headed to his base. When Ohr got to Italy and approached the airfield he saw that someone was sitting by the runway. Ohr had been out for seven hours. He made a dead stick landing and his crew chief was standing there with a M1 Rifle. Ohr jumped out and dived to the ground because he thought the plane was going to explode. His crew chief had been sitting there with the rifle because people had tried to tell him to go back because Ohr was gone. When Ohr got back all of his possessions had been divided by his crew. His crew chief's name was Chandliss.
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 
$60.00
Product: 

All oral histories featured on this site are available to license. The videos will be delivered via mail as Hi Definition video on DVD/DVDs or via file transfer. You will be purchasing the oral history in its entirety but will be free to use only specific clips. Please contact the Museum at digitalcollections@nationalww2museum.org if you are interested in licensing this content. Please allow up to two weeks for file delivery or delivery of the DVD to your postal address. See more information at http://ww2online.org/faqs.